The United States intends to support defense reform in Ukraine until it reaches the criteria for NATO membership, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said.
Austin said at a briefing after the talks with Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran in Kyiv on Tuesday that following the NATO summit in June 2014, NATO allies pledged support for Ukraine in its intentions to become a full member of NATO. The United States remains unwavering in support of Ukraine's defense reform, which will help achieve the criteria for full NATO membership.
He said that during the visit, he had effective negotiations with Taran on a framework agreement signed in Washington in August 2021. "This agreement provides us with a strategic framework for a defense partnership, and we are going to strengthen our strategic partnership," the head of the Ukrainian defense department said.
Austin said the United States has a duty to help Ukraine, and U.S. President Joe Biden has noted that on several occasions.
Austin also said that he likes Ukraine, the people of Ukraine, and the United States has a responsibility to help them. President Biden has emphasized this on several occasions – about the U.S. commitment to support Ukraine, its territorial integrity and integrity. He said that he is here to reiterate the U.S. serious intentions.